For the second time within a year, the state Health Department has ordered that Peninsula Hospital Center in Far Rockaway admit no new patients — this time because it found "serious deficiencies" in the institution's clinical laboratory.
Health Commissioner Nirav Shah on Thursday directed Peninsula Hospital Center in the Rockaways to no longer admit any new patients, either through its emergency room or from physicians, transfer inpatients who are dependent upon laboratory services, and immediately cancel all surgeries.
Health officials documented a long list of deficiencies at the lab, noting, for example, that an individual worked alone at the blood bank in January after receiving just two days of training. Because of this, officials said she did no perform quality controls or take the required daily temperatures to ensure that blood was stored in appropriate conditions.
Also at the blood bank, officials said, "no testing, quality control, temperatures or maintenance is reviewed by laboratory administration."
The lab also has no backup for its information and, if the computer system fails, the data will be irretrievable, officials said. The hospital has a substantial sickle cell and oncology population that receive multiple transfusions, and health officials said an ability to retrieve their information is "critical to ensure safe transfusions."
Health officials said the lab would be closed for no more than 30 days, provided the hospital can remedy the situation.
Peninsula spokeswoman Liz Sulik said the hospital is complying with all of the state's demands.
"It is expeditiously developing a plan to remedy the laboratory deficiencies and hopes to restore full services as soon as possible," Sulik said.
Sulik stressed that the hospital is not fully closed, and that there are non-clinical services available, such as radiology. The hospital's attached nursing home also continues to operate.
Borough President Helen Marshall said she is working with officials from Peninsula and the state in a "combined effort to facilitate compliance with state regulations that will allow the lab to reopen and hospital functions to resume as soon as possible."
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) also said he will work on the matter.
"Putting patient safety at risk is outrageous and unacceptable," Goldfeder said. "Our hospitals and health care facilities must be held to the highest standards to protect the health and safety of our families."
This is not the first time the state has ordered Peninsula to not admit any more patients. After financial problems rocked the institution, Peninsula's parent company, MediSys, ended its affiliation with the facility, and state officials ordered in August that Peninsula not take in any new patients until an operational plan could be implemented.
After it was announced that Peninsula could close, leaving just one hospital, St. John's, to serve the Rockaways, there were numerous rallies to save the facility. In September, Brooklyn-based Revival Home Health Care reached a deal to take over the 104-year-old hospital.